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  • Sympathetic Creatures: Animals, Ethics, and Politics Megan Gallagher | megan_gallagher@brown.edu

    Sample syllabus

    Course description Bees have long been a popular figure in political thought: from Aristotle to Mandeville and beyond, philosophers have long compared human beings to bees on the grounds that both are social creatures. If man was Aristotles political animal, bees were quasi-political: they associated with one another and communicated, but they did not seek to persuade. Bees did not possess logos, or reasoned speech, the quality that has long held to differentiate humanity from all other species. But what if it were the case that humanity did not possess a monopoly on logos? How would that challenge humankinds understanding of itself - and its understanding of our fellow animals?

    As awareness of, and interest in, environmental issues grows, many scholars have come to focus on one specific issue: the status of the non-human animal. What are animals intellectual capacities? What are their emotional capacities? How might their feelings overlap or diverge with human emotions? Do any other species have a notion of justice? What is the ethical standing of non-humans? What, if anything, do human beings owe to other species? Does our duty depend on whether other species do employ something like logic, persuasion, or judgment?

    In some ways, these are not new questions: in ancient and medieval philosophy, animals were often invoked as a foil for man, on the one hand, and plants, minerals, and inert materials on the other. The aim of this course is to examine previous treatments of the animal question and consider the possible consequences for political subjectivity in the twenty-first century. The first two-thirds of the semester will be taken up with examining the role of animals in the history of political thought, focusing on primary materials. The final third will be devoted to contemporary questions in political theory that the animal question have provoked or speaks to in a new way.

    This class is intended as an intensive introduction to environmental political thought via close examination of one of its biggest questions. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of concerns, views, and traditions. The course is open to students from all disciplines. Suggested reading is appended to the syllabus for those interested.

    Reading Schedule

    Week 1 | Introduction Lori Gruen, The Moral Status of Animals, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. John Passmore, The Treatment of Animals, Journal of the History of Ideas 36.2 (1975): 195-218. Kari Weil, Seeing Animals, in Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now?, pp. 25-51.

  • I. Ancients and Animals

    Week 2 | Animals as Subject of Inquiry Aristotle, selections from De Anima, History of Animals, and Politics Stephen T. Newmyer, Animals in Ancient Philosophy: Conceptions and Misconceptions, in ed. Linda Kalof, A Cultural History of Animals in Antiquity. Richard Sorabji, Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate, selections.

    Week 3 | Diet Plutarch, Of the Eating of Flesh. Porphyry, On Abstinence from Animal Food. Gary Steiner, Classic Defenses of Animals: Plutarch and Porphyry, in Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy, pp. 4-34.

    II. Early Modern Animals

    Week 4 | Man and Bee Review Aristotle, Politics Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, selections. Dror Wahrman, Snapshot: On Queen Bees and Being Queens, in The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England, pp. 3-6.

    Week 5 | The Moral Status of Animals: Three Theories Descartes, Discourse on Method, part V Kant, Duties Toward Animals and Spirits, in Lectures on Ethics Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, chapter XVII.6, esp. note 122 Mill, On the Connection between Justice and Utility, chapter 5 in Utilitarianism. Paola Cavalieri, The Traditional Accounts, in The Animal Question: Why Nonhuman Animals Deserve Human Rights: Why Nonhuman Animals Deserve Human Rights, pp. 41-68.

    Week 6 | Animals and Empire Mark Rowlands, Philosophy and Animals in the Age of Empire, in ed. Kathleen Kete, A Cultural History of Animals in the Age of Empire. Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age, selections.

    III. Modern Creatures

    Week 7 | Emotions and Anthropomorphism Darwin, Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, selections. Eileen Crist, Darwins Anthropomorphism, chapter 1 in Images of Animals: Anthropomorphism and Animal Mind, pp. 11-51.

    Week 8 |Hunting Jos Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting, selections.

    Gallagher | sample syllabus 2

  • Lawrence Cahoone, Hunting as a Moral Good, Environmental Values 18.1 (2009): 67-89. Norbert Elias, An Essay on Sport and Violence, in Quest for Excitement: Sport and Leisure in the Civilizing Process, pp. 44-72.

    Week 9 | Sympathizing with Animals J.M. Coetzee, with Amy Gutmann, Wendy Doniger, Barbara Smuts, Marjorie Garber, and Peter Singer, The Lives of Animals.

    IV. Contemporary Questions

    Week 10 | Meat and Misogyny Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, selections.

    Week 11 | Animals and Liberal Subjectivity Kimberly Smith, Natural Subjects: Nature and Political Community, Environmental Values 15 (2006): 343-353. Siobhan OSullivan, Advocating for Animals Equally from Within a Liberal Paradigm, Environmental Politics 16.1 (2007): 1-14. Claire E. Rasmussen, Man Is a Political Animal: Self-Discipline and Its Beastly Other, in The Autonomous Animal: Self-Governance and the Modern Subject, pp. 97-136.

    Week 12 | Animal Rights or Animal Welfare? Peter Singer, All Animals Are Equal, in Animal Liberation, pp. 1-24. Elizabeth Anderson, Animal Rights and the Values of Nonhuman Life, in Martha Nussbaum and Cass Sunstein, eds., Rights For Animals? Law and Policy, pp. 277-298. Gary L. Francione, Animal Welfare and the Moral Value of Nonhuman Animals, Law, Culture and the Humanities 6.1 (2009): 24-36.

    Week 13 | Best Friends Kennan Ferguson, I My Dog, Political Theory 32.3 (2004): 373-395. Donna Haraway, When Species Meet, selections. Alexandra Horowitz, Canis familiaris: Companion and Captive, in ed. Lori Gruen, The Ethics of Captivity, pp. 7-21.

    Week 14 | Citizen Pig? Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, Animals and the Frontiers of Citizenship, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 34.2 (2014): 200-219. Christopher Hinchcliffe, Animals and the Limits of Citizenship: Zoopolis and the Concept of Citizenship, Journal of Political Philosophy 23.3 (2015): 302-320.

    Week 15 | Justice Martha Nussbaum, Beyond Compassion and Humanity: Justice for Non-Human Animals, in Nussbaum and Sunstein, eds., Rights For Animals? Law and Policy, pp. 299-320.

    Gallagher | sample syllabus 3

  • Robert Garner, Why Animals Need Justice, in A Theory of Justice for Animals: Animal Rights in a Nonideal World, pp. 44-60.

    Required texts Carol J. Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (978-1501312830) J.M. Coetzee, et. al., The Lives of Animals (978-0691070896) Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees and Other Writings (978-0872203747) Martha Nussbaum and Cass Sunstein, eds., Rights For Animals? Law and Policy (978-0195305104) All other readings will be available via the course site or distributed in class.

    Suggested reading Classics John Berger, Why Look At an Animal? in About Looking. Mary Midgley, Beast and Man: The Roots of Human Nature. James Serpell, In the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal Relationships. Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: A History of the Modern Sensibility.

    Introductions to animal studies Tom Beauchamp and R.G. Frey, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics. Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. Bloomsbury Press, The Cultural History of Animals, series. Alexander Cochrane, An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory. David DeGrazia. Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction. Margo DeMello, Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies. Erica Fudge, Animal. Andrew Linzey and Paul Barry Clarke, eds., Animal Rights: A Historical Anthology. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals. Joan Schaffner, An Introduction to Animals and the Law.

    History of animals Sarah Amato, Beastly Possessions: Animals in Victorian Consumer Culture. Virginia Anderson, Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America. Miguel de Asa and Roger French, A New World of Animals: Early Modern Europeans on the Creatures of Iberian America. Steve Baker and Carol Adams, Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity, and Representation. Bruce Thomas Boehrer, Animal Characters: Nonhuman Beings in Early Modern Literature. Dorothee Brantz, ed., Beastly Natures: Animals, Humans and the Study of History. Matt Cartmill, A View to A Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature through History. Martha Few and Zeb Tortorici, eds., Centering Animals in Latin American History

    Gallagher | sample syllabus 4

  • Erica Fudge, Brutal Reasoning: Animals, Rationality, and Humanity in Early Modern Europe. Erica Fudge, Perceiving Animals: Humans and Beasts in Early Modern English Culture. Erica Fudge, ed. Renaissance Beasts: Of Animals, Humans, and Other Wonderful Creatures. Erica Fudge, Ruth Gilbert, and S. J. Wiseman. At the Borders of the Human: Beasts, Bod